Occupational Safety and
Health Act of 1970
“To assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women.”
Worker Protection is the Law of the Land
You have the right to a safe workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) was passed to prevent workers from being killed or otherwise harmed at work. The law requires employers to provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. The OSH Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards. OSHA also provides information, training and assistance to employers and workers.
Workers’ Rights under the OSH Act
The OSH Act gives workers the right to safe and healthful working conditions. It is the duty of employers to provide workplaces that are free of known dangers that could harm their employees. This law also gives workers important rights to participate in activities to ensure their protection from job hazards. This booklet explains workers’ rights to:
- Right to notify your employer or OSHA about workplace hazards. You may ask OSHA to keep your name confidential.
- Receive information and training about hazards, methods to prevent harm, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace. The training must be done in a language and vocabulary workers can understand.
- Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses that occur in their workplace.
- Receive copies of the results from tests and monitoring done to find and measure hazards in the workplace.
- Get copies of their workplace medical records.
- Participate in an OSHA inspection and speak in private with the inspector.
- File a complaint with OSHA if they have been retaliated or discriminated against by their employer as the result of requesting an inspection or using any of their other rights under the OSH Act.
- File a complaint if punished or discriminated against for acting as a “whistleblower” under the additional 20 federal statutes for which OSHA has jurisdiction.
- The OSH Act prohibits employers from discriminating against their employees for using their rights under the OSH Act. These rights include filing an OSHA complaint, participating in an inspection or talking to the inspector, seeking access to employer exposure and injury records, raising a safety or health issue with the employer
- Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace.
- Employers MUST provide their employees with a workplace that does not have serious hazards and must follow all OSHA safety and health standards.
- Employers must find and correct safety and health problems.
- OSHA further requires that employers must try to eliminate or reduce hazards first by making feasible changes in working conditions – switching to safer chemicals, enclosing processes to trap harmful fumes, or using ventilation systems to clean the air are examples of effective ways to get rid of or minimize risks – rather than just relying on personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, or earplugs.
What to Do
- To report a violation to OSHA or to ask questions:
Call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742)
- Regional Office of OSHA:
U.S. Department of Labor – OSHA
550 West C Street, Suite 970
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 557-5030
Fax: (619) 557-6001
- CalOSHA www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/
- Report safety issues to: